Kelly Tilghman and that lynching thing

So recently, The Golf Channel’s golf kelly_tilghman-clip.jpgcommentator and hottie (2nd designation mine, not TGC’s) Kelly Tilghman made a comment with a most unfortunate choice of words regarding Tiger Woods, his golf skills, and advice to lesser golfers attempting to match him.

Tilghman made a shocking comment during Friday’s telecast of the PGA Tour’s opening event. She said — on the air — that today’s young players should “lynch Tiger Woods in a back alley.”

And, of course, the whole damn world is in an uproar over this now. tiger-woods-_clip.jpg Except, ummm, it took 2 days before anyone started to make a big deal about it. And Ms. Tilghman has already apologized to Tiger Woods. And the apology has been accepted and Mr. Woods appears fine with moving on to the more important issue of actually golfing.

Woods, who through his agent issued a statement saying he was friends with Tilghman and respected her, said, “We know unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments.”

Ms. Tilghman was even suspended for two weeks for the comment. But that’s not good enough for some. No, no – we can’t have that comment go by media-whore and self-proclaimed protector of all that is black and/or racist, Rev. Al Sharpton, can we?

race-card-08_clip.jpgBefore her suspension was announced, Sharpton spoke earlier on CNN’s “Prime News” and continued to push for her firing, saying he wanted to meet with Golf Channel because the comments were “an insult to all blacks.”

“Lynching is not murder in general, it’s not assault in general,” Sharpton said. “It’s a specific racial term that this woman should be held accountable for. What she said is racist. Whether she’s a racist … is immaterial. She’s a broadcaster. The channel has to be accountable to the public.”

Never one to let overblown reactions go by when I have time to comment, I thought I’d look in to this. So looking around, I found that, sure enough (and of no surprise), lynching has a history as a racial term.

Lynching is the illegal execution of an accused person by a mob. The term lynching probably derived from the name Charles Lynch (1736-96), a justice of the peace who administered rough justice in Virginia. Lynching was originally a system of punishment used by whites against African American slaves.

But there was a little lee-way to the practice, it turns out. Continuing the above:

However, whites who protested against this were also in danger of being lynched. On 7th November, 1837, Elijah Parish Lovejoy, the editor of the Alton Observer, was killed by a white mob after he had published articles criticizing lynching and advocating the abolition of slavery.

So, um, don’t be supporting the abolitionists, I guess. But the reason Rev. Sharpton’s involvement bothers me (beyond the fact that he causes controversy even though there usually isn’t any need to because that’s the only way he can convince himself he’s still relevant, as far as I can tell) is that there is another very valid, very well known, and very well understood meaning of the term “lynch” out there. Turns out lynching was used in the wild west as a means of enforcing “justice” on robbers.

The Seymour Vigilance Committee visited the New Albany Jail this morning about three o’clock and hung the Reno brothers and Charles Anderson, inside the Jail, and left town before any alarm was given.

. . .

Between three and four o’clock this morning from sixty to seventy Seymour regulators masked and heavily armed, arrived here via the Jeffersonville Railroad. Immediately upon their arrival, they proceeded by a direct route to the county Jail, placing guards at every street and alley to guard against surprise. On arriving at the jail one of the guards stationed outside took fright and attempted to raise an alarm, but was quickly taken in charge and placed under guard.

. . . They then took Frank Reno, Simon Reno, Bill Reno and Charles Anderson, the express robbers, out and hanged them to the iron railing or post supporting the walls around the cells. The victims were placed on chairs, the rope adjusted and the chairs kicked from under them; Frank and Simon hanging to one post, Simon in front and Frank behind him, the other brother hanging at a corner post, and Anderson backward in the rear of the jail.

See, that’s what I thought of when I heard the comment – lynching and the wild west. I totally get why someone might think something other than what I did, but don’t get why those same people can’t see that some of us don’t make the same association as they do.

Ms. Tilghman apologized. She has no history of racial commentary. Mr. Woods accepted the apology. Life goes on. I don’t see anywhere that the likes of Rev. Sharpton have any reason to inject themselves into this situation, except to make sure the media doesn’t forget him and his otherwise irrelevant existence.

[tags]Kelly Tilghman, Tiger Woods, Golf, Lynching, Irrelevance[/tags]